It's been roughly 2.5 years since the AfD Party (the Alternative for Deutschland Party) arrived on the political scene in Germany.
Version 1.0 of the party was mostly about an anti-Euro stand. Other than budget talk, taxation and the anti-Euro position....that was the AfD. Oddly, it attracted a fair amount of interest, they pulled roughly 4.7-percent of the 2013 German national election....missing the five-percent point where you get to stand in the Bundestag (German Congress). Roughly a year later, in the EU representative election in Germany.....AfD ended up with votes to place 7 seats out of the 96 total German seats.
Some people would say that AfD is an oddball party, and they ran mostly because of their guy...Bernd Lucke. He had some charisma and could give a decent talk when in political chat forums.
Somewhere along the beginning of 2015....AfD held a meeting and there was a fair amount of disenchantment with Bernd Lucke. He wanted the party to stay as the anti-Euro party. The rest of the leadership wanted to party to expand out. Lucke was basically fired in the spring of this year.....being replaced by Frauke Petry.
I would rebrand the AfD Party into version 2.0 at that point. Lucke went on to create another political party, which naturally....was anti-Euro.
Petry has taken the AfD Party and pushed on with a few new statements and themes.....so here we are in September and I'd identify AfD at the situation of version 2.1.
AfD came out over the weekend with several statements which identify them as walking a different path than most of the other political parties in Germany, and they want the immigration and refugee situation to be a bit more difficult.
Among the themes?
They'd like for any refugee coming into Germany.....to have their status and cost covered by their old country. Naturally, you'd ponder upon this and realize it's practically impossible to get any country to pay such a bill.
They'd like for all applicants to be rejected if they can't prove who they are (passports, identification papers, etc). There is some fear that people are simply faking their identification or buying fake ID's.
They'd like for a fundamental change to occur with asylum seekers.....making it more difficult to achieve....which might be difficult to make because the Basic Law (the Constitution of Germany) has an article which says you can come in and ask for asylum. You'd have to have a large segment of German society agree to the Basic Law change.....which just won't happen.
Where is AfD heading? I suspect they are looking forward to 2016 and the state elections. Most of the major parties are all identifying themselves as pro-asylum, pro-refugee, and pro-immigration. They would prefer that immigration was not "THE" major topic of political talk for the five state elections in 2016.
In a normal German election (before technology and innovation came along).....the newspapers and TV political chat forums were able to control the themes and ensure the direction of the campaigns. This is a different era, with the internet, social media, up-loadable video, and Twitter providing a voice to anyone who wants to speak.
Here's the thing....as January comes around and these three regions (states) get into political dialog...the regional networks (state-run)....will be forced to allow AfD and other political parties to appear and chat over political positions. AfD will identify their stance, and some journalist will try to oppose it. The public watching (not just those within that state or region, but the public from all of Germany who have access to regional networks)...will start to form two views of asylum, refugees and immigration. Whether the Berlin leadership likes this or not.....the public will get a second opinion.
So for 2016, AfD version 2.1.....is a wild-card of sorts and probably will shake up German politics.